Bio: Isabella Muehlinghaus is a High School Sophomore in the pre-IB cohort of Parkdale High School in Riverdale, Maryland. She is a member of the Hispanic Committee, Lyrikal Storm, and P.L.U.T.O as a stage director. She spends her days writing stories and creating ideas for short films. She also edits videos when she has the time and inspiration. She finds satisfaction and calmness in revising her own and others writings. A big fan of Studio Ghibli and animation, but lacking the visual arts talent, she creates stories in the hopes to one day have them be formed into an animation or just into a live action film for sheer enjoyment. She is currently working on piecing together a collection of her short stories to publish as her first book, then to study a foreign exchange year in 2019 in Japan. She will graduate from high school in 2020.
Define Writer/Filmmaker? My definition of a writer is someone who tells a story from the heart, even something as small as a current event can be from the heart! Someone felt impacted enough by an event or was so drawn to an event that their heart told them to write about it. A filmmaker is someone who makes a story visual, someone who gives life to a story.
Where do you draw your inspiration from? My main inspiration to write was to get things off of my mind/chest. When I first started to write, I wasn't going through the easiest time regarding self-discovery but writing allowed me to express pieces of myself in ways that made sense, that made it easier for me to accept and understand.
What inspired you to write? My main inspiration to write was to get things off of my mind/chest. When I first started to write, I wasn't going through the easiest time regarding self-discovery but writing allowed me to express pieces of myself in ways that made sense, that made it easier for me to accept and understand.
Why is what you do important? What I do is important because it is an outlet for the mind. It entertains others while educating. Without stories, storytellers, and writers, we would not know of our history. What to avoid doing again, what happened to our ancestors, what led us to where we are today, etc. Without story, storytellers, and writers the world would be an empty, confusing place. (More than it is already.)
What do you think is the most important tool for a Writer/Filmmaker? I think the most important tool for a writer/filmmaker is a creative mind. Without a creative mind, everything would be bland, and the same, works would just be a long continuation of poorly done rip-offs of one creative idea, which never leads to an astounding product. So a creative mind is important to be able to make new and amazing work and also to properly express yourself or someone else.
What advice do you have for someone that wants to be a Writer/Filmmaker? Be true to yourself first. Don't hold back on an idea just because others may not like it, work on it first if your heart and soul are truly destined for it, and if you find that it doesn't work out or become what you expected it to be, that's okay! You can always come back to it or build on it or ditch it completely; it's all about trying. Another piece of advice that I have is to find your comfort zone, a place where you can create your feeling of peace, this will lead to a great product and will make the experience more of a joy than a pain. Also, spill your mind. Open it and just let it spill onto paper, it sounds harder than it seems BUT, once you begin working on something, it should just come to you and flow.
What is an interesting fact about you? Usually, the most interesting fact about me that I speak about is that I view myself as an author and all of the things that I do involving writing but an interesting fact besides that that I can think to share would be my ethnic background. I was born and raised in a very multicultural family, my dad is from Switzerland, and my mother is from Manhattan. My father is pretty much pure caucasian, but my mother is mixed with everything. Which left my brother and I being at least 2% of every race, a very small percentage, I know but I've always just thought that was very cool. And the stories and records that we've found, relating to our ancestors are really cool and interesting!
Where are you from / Where do you live? I was born in Berkeley, California, and partially raised in Oakland, California until the age of four, and then my mother, brother and I moved here to Maryland three days before my fifth birthday. I currently live in Riverdale, Maryland.
Who is your favorite Writer/Filmmaker? I do not have a particular favorite author since I have not focused on mainly one person work but, I do have a variety of books that I enjoy which all fall into the same general category of romance, romantic comedy, romantic tragedy, etc. I adore love stories. My favorite filmmaker would have to be Wes Anderson, Sofia Coppola coming in as a close second. I love the stories of Wes Anderson's films, they're so elaborate and interesting and give you a mix of emotions that at some times you are unable to distinguish. The style is also so pleasing for me to view, the colors are soft, and the actors fit so well into their roles, and the music selection just tops it off my perfectly setting the mood of the movie or scene, I love it. I have not seen many of Sofia Coppola's work but the ones that I have seen I've always greatly enjoyed. They're so aesthetically pleasing, and the soundtracks always have such a great selection of songs.
Where do you see yourself 5 years from now? In five years I see myself with a Bachelor's degree in creative writing, on my way, if not already in grad school working on getting a masters degree in creative writing. I'm in a loving, stable relationship, living in a small loft apartment with a cat and a chinchilla in Northern California or in another country if I'm lucky. I'm happy, or I'm working on becoming truly happy with myself and content with my life choices. I really just want to be happy and enjoying my life in five years.
Define Mock Trial Attorney? A mock trial attorney is a student lawyer who presents their argument on a mock case in competition. This is done with two other lawyers and 3 witnesses from their team.
Where do you draw your inspiration? I draw my inspiration from just my desire to practice law. In the 7th grade I joined the debate team and I realized that I was good at crafting an argument. I also noticed that I liked the challenge of learning how present and speak under pressure. From a very young age I have always liked to help people. My success in debate helped me realize that becoming a lawyer more specifically a district or state prosecutor would give me the avenue to make a difference in people's lives.
Why is what you do important? Mock Trial is important because I feel like it develops such a well rounded person. It forces you to get out of your comfort zone, think on your feet and work closely with others. Mock Trial teaches you how to be a team player. Everyone on the team is critical to the team's success. On a personal level Mock Trial is important to me because it gives me a taste of what practicing law will feel like. Mock Trial serves as great training and helps me to get closer and closer to my end goal.
What do you think is the most important tool for a Mock Trial Attorney? I think the most important tool for a Mock Trial attorney is patience. Some might argue that confidence is the most important but to me patience is the only way you can get through a trial successfully. In Mock Trial there are many moments where things are not going as you planned. You have to be patience have the ability to stop, calm down and quickly decide how to fix the problem. Without patience you are likely to give up or stop giving it your all; something that hurts the team in the long run.
What advice do you have for someone that wants to be a Mock Trial Attorney? The advice that I have to someone that wants to be a Mock Trial attorney is to just work hard and be yourself. I know that might sound cliche but it really is true. Mock trial requires a lot of commitment and practice. Last year I practiced my opening statements at least 5 times a day. If you don’t put in time and preparation it will reflect during trial. You also should be yourself. A lot of the times other students try to act overly confident or try to change who they actually are just to gain points in a trial. But from my experience your own personality makes you unique and in some ways make you really stand out. As long as you prepare, stay true to yourself, and act in a respectful manner to everyone during a trial I believe you can be very successful as a Mock Trial attorney.
What is an interesting fact about you? An interesting fact about me is that I have been a girl scout for 10 years and I have been playing the flute for 8 years.
Where are you from / Where do you live? I’m from Maryland and I live in Bowie.
Where do you see yourself 5 years from now? 5 years from now I see myself in my senior year of college. I hope to be finishing up my degree in US history, taking the LSAT and applying to some of the top law schools in the nation.
Bio: Brea Purdie is a junior attending Parkdale High school. She is currently enrolled in the International Baccalaureate Programme. In her leisure, she spends her time reading novels and writing political articles for the Prince George's County Student Press. She serves as a Consultant/ Political Analyst for the Parkdale Student Government Association Executive Board (SGA). She is a member of Youth Ambassadors and is a programmer for the Robotics team at Parkdale.
Define Political Analyst
A Political Analyst examines the statistics from the polls and current events to predict the outcome of an election. A lobbyist is a person who attempts to influence political officials and the laws they want to enforce. They are often part of a group or committee that wants legislation passed or supported by that official.
What inspired you to become a Political Analyst?
I was inspired to take the position after gaining interest in how the government's spending and legislation affects the quality of the school system. I drew my inspiration from having a passion for looking up information and wondering why it is occurring. I always tend to analyze a system as a whole and then pick out individual problems within it to fix it.
Why is what you do important?
My work is important in predicting the outcome of how a bill or how spending will be finalized. I often take note on what each politician votes on for our district and their beliefs and I analyze how they will take action on each piece of legislation.
What do you think is the most important tool for a Political Analyst?
The most important ability a Political analyst should have is the ability to have an unbiased perspective when analyzing information to be able to understand why the data is being produced in this manner. Once able to do this, you are more capable of predicting the outcome of political actions in government.
What advice do you have for someone that wants to be a Political Analyst?
One piece of advice for someone interested in this field would be to constantly analyze everything. It would help you plan ahead and figure out what steps are needed to solve a problem.
What is an interesting fact about you? An interesting fact about me is that I am advocate of equality and I read an extensive amount of books.
Where are you from / Where do you live? I am from Richmond, Virginia. I currently live in New Carrollton, Maryland.
Who is your favorite Political Analyst? My favorite Political Analyst is James Carville.
Where do you see yourself 5 years from now? In 5 years, I see myself studying at the University of Frankfurt majoring in International Management.
BIO: Adriana Hawkins is a senior IB student at Parkdale High School. Between balancing AP and IB classes, she likes to read books and work on future art projects. Her passion for creating has lead her to pursue visual art as a career. Adriana will attend Maryland Institute College of Art to study Film and Video in the fall of 2015.
Define Visual Artist? A visual artist is “anyone” who creates visual art.
Where do you draw your inspiration from? I can draw inspiration from literally anything. I tend to just look around whatever area I’m in to get ideas. A single line or color somewhere can be the basis of an entire piece.
What inspired you to draw? Before high school I wasn’t particularly interested in art but once I started to take art classes freshman year, I realized that it was something I really enjoyed and wanted to continue.
Why is what you do important? It’s important because art is an outlet. You can communicate ideas and opinions through art; you can get out your frustrations and express yourself just by creating something. I think it’s very important to have something like that in our lives because some people aren’t always able to convey their thoughts to other people and being creative is a way to do that.
What do you think is the most important tool for a Visual Artist? Definitely a pencil because everything you do starts out with a sketch.
What advice do you have for someone that wants to be a Visual Artist? Do not, do not, do not compare yourself to other artists. I cannot stress enough how important that is. Comparing your work to other artists can make you lose confidence in your own work and I can say from experience that that is not a good feeling. Just do what you feel is right and what makes you happy.
What is an interesting fact about you? I crochet and am currently creating a scarf making business. So, if you or anyone you know would like a custom homemade scarf just send me an email. I’m also a Girl Scout and will be taking orders for Girl Scout cookies in December.
Where are you from / Where do you live? I was born in D.C. and I live in Lanham, MD.
On Leadership... A leader is someone who works hard to ensure that the needs of his/her people are either met or possible solutions are in place.A leader is a servant to the people and put them before his/her self. A leader also helps groom future leaders because he/she understands that there will be a time for others to lead.
Influences/Inspiration... I honestly draw my inspiration from people. I’m also worried about how I can address an issue that someone else may face to make their lives easier. In school I not only worry about my education, but how I can better my peer's education to ensure that we are all successful. Nothing in particular inspired me to be a leader. I just truly care about others and am willing and ready to ensure that the needs of others are met or that there are at least several different solutions to address the needs of the people.
Tools/ Skills needed... The most important tool for a leader is his/her ears. In order to lead you must first become a great listener. Without great listening skills you wouldn’t be able to help others because you would be unaware of their views and concerns.
Advice to inspiring leaders... The most important advice that I have for someone who wants to be a student leader is that you have the ability to be that leader. In fact if you just took your first step in becoming a leader just by your curiosity on how you could become one. Congrats! Now keep pushing!
Interesting fact about you... An interesting fact about me is that I am a candidate for The Student Member of The Board of Prince George’s County Public School’s.
BIO: Gerardo Herrera-Cortes is a prospective High School Senior (class of 2015), an AP diplomat, an advocate of sorts. He currently holds a job and balances his straining school year. He ranks among the highest in his class and has the insight for success. During his free time, he creatively writes or attempts to research something to do. Although seemingly introverted, he sneaks between the cracks and seeks opportunities. He wishes to become more interactive during his senior year and become well-known. He has his eyes on valedictorian and wishes to attend either the University of Maryland, College Park or some university in California in the fall of 2015.
Define Journalist? A journalist would be anyone who has the desire to expose or thoroughly investigate a current event or topic and write about it.
Where do you draw your inspiration from? I draw my inspiration for motivation from either my English teacher, Mrs. Boyd, who have been of great support for me, or from myself, who desires to defeat previous feats or anticipated goals.
What inspired you to be a journalist? Under personal terms, I do not see myself as a journalist. I prefer the term of “aspiring writer” because journalism is a single-lane road as writing is a multi-lane highway. What inspired me to be an “aspiring writer” were the chances of retaining imagination in words—in words and phrases and in foreign scripture that could live for centuries upon centuries. Of course, I wish for any of my prospective works to reach this goal, but it will take patience and motivation. What also inspired me was my love for persuasion and keeping a professional take in writing—using grammar and punctuation for complicated clauses or advanced vocabulary to fit the greatest of tastes—more of a technical aspect, really.
Why is what you do important? What makes writing, or journalism to be specific, important? My dear friend, writing is pragmatically the foundation of everything! Without writing, we will be left with the flaws of speech and memorization; inference and advocacy. For journalism, we will be without knowledge of the world beyond us—the world that is China, India, or Europe. The availability of technology advances journalism and promotes it. We must take this task at hand and use it to our advantage.
What do you think is the most important tool for a journalist? The most important tool for a journalist would be the power to persuade. Almost every story has its point of view from which an interesting feature can be written. You have to persuade your readers into thinking it's interesting and appealing to them!
What advice do you have for someone that wants to be a student journalist? For anyone who is seeking to be a student journalist is to improve your writing and methods of organizing your thoughts and information; as well as seek opportunities to hit your cover story and gain popularity. Hey! Maybe you'll make it into the New York Times.
What is an interesting fact about you? An interesting fact about myself would be my ability to empathize with human thought and emotion and become apathetic to common events and situations; in more technical terms, an interesting fact would be that I have a slight OCD for organization.
Where are you from / Where do you live? I don't have a favorite journalist. In broader terms, my favorite reporter would be eitherCNN's Anderson Cooper or Univision's Jorge Ramos—strikingly similar, I tell you.
Who is your favorite journalist? I don't have a favorite journalist. In broader terms, my favorite reporter would be either CNN's Anderson Cooper or Univision's Jorge Ramos—strikingly similar, I tell you.
Where do you see yourself 5 years from now? This is the question I attempt to avoid. In five years, I hope to have something creatively written that's worth talking about. College is a must, but uncertain; as is my social life and my independence (but it's more of a certainty for the latter).
Communication-Op! I can be contacted through GJHC1@yahoo.com and I respond ASAP; I also have a Twitter (@loud_yet_silent). I have a MySpace too, if you're interested. (Excuse my dry humor).
Bio:Awura Osei is a sophomore and IB Diploma Programme Candidate from Parkdale High School. Awura currently is serving as the President of Parkdale’s Class of 2016. When at Robert Goddard French Immersion School, Awura had the privilege of serving as Student Body President as well as Editor-in-Chief of the Yearbook Committee. Currently she has a 3.8GPA and is taking Honors, AP, and IB courses. To keep active Awura is a member of the Parkdale Varsity Cheerleading Team. Awura is consistently focused on excelling in her academic pursuits. Since an early age her family has encouraged her to be hardworking and dedicated. Serving her school community has always been imperative to Awura. Through her leadership the class of 2016 currently has a surplus of funds and is leading Parkdale in fundraising efforts. Ask any of her teachers or peers, they will consistently describe Awura with these three words, “Poised, Organized, and Reliable!” Being bilingual her communication skills are outstanding. Allowing her to reach Prince George’s County’s numerous international students. Providing the opportunity for their voices to be heard! Awura Osei, “Bridging the gap, one step at a time!”
A leader is a solicitous and reliable person who aids in the organization of something.
Where do you draw your inspiration? I draw my inspiration from my considerate spirit, observing my role models and desire to help others.
What inspired you to be a leader? Becoming Student Council President at Robert Goddard French Immersion allowed me to discover that I have a large voice and I must use this blessing to speak for others, advocating for them. That is what inspired me to be a leader.
What do you think is the most important tool for a student leader? Personally, I believe that the most important tool for a student leader is the drive and desire to improve persistently.
What advice do you have for someone that wants to be a student leader? If I were to counsel someone who aspires to be a student leader, I would advise them to always be aware of their activities and to plan accordingly in order to balance themselves to excel in all of their activities.
What is an interesting fact about you? Something interesting about me is that I am in love with the film, Titanic. Also, in my free time, I enjoy writing narratives. I have been writing since the humble age of 8 and to this day, I still have a few of my very first stories. I aspire to one day publish an extremely popular novel.
Where are you from / Where do you live? I am from Ghana, West Africa, but I live in Lanham, Maryland.
Who is your favorite leader? I would have to say that my favorite leaders are Shaunakay Stewart and Christina Oyawale. I say this because not only are they strong and active voices of Parkdale’s SGA but they both manage their sports and other extra curricular activities while sustaining an exceptional GPA.
Where do you see yourself 5 years from now? 5 years from now, I see myself as a junior at my preferable university on a full scholarship meanwhile speaking the word of God to young people and putting my blessings to good use in my community.
Jocelyn Nolasco is currently a freshman Government and Politics Major at the University of Maryland College Park. She has served numerous leadership positions to include Class President, Community Liaison, and Vice-President of Lyrikal Storm Arts in Education Organization. An educational advocate and staunch activist, Jocelyn has been at the forefront in the fight for immigration reform and the push for the revamping of Arts in Education Programs on a local, state, and national level as well. Her tenacious leadership in such movements and intiatives has created a following of youth advocates and leaders and a culture of advocacy for those who traditionally have been disenfranchised in the political arena. It has also led to her spearheading and partnering with board members Peggy Higgins and Edward Burroughs in the Parkdale High School Auditorium Capital Improvement Planning Campaign and the Alternative Leadership Initiative. She was a 2014 candidate for the Prince George's Regional Association of Student Governments Candidate and a candidate for the Hyattsville City Council Ward 1 in 2015.
Jocelyn has formed alliances with youth around the county and state in an attempt to educate, organize, and unite youth for she believes that active participation in the political process is instrumental in maintaining an organized and civil society. She believes that Prince George’s County is and will continue to be a thriving nationwide model for equality, justice, and economic advancement as long as every voice is heard.
Define Leader? A leader is a person who understands the needs of their community and advocates not for themselves, but for the needs of the people they represent.
Where do you draw your inspiration from? I draw my inspiration from past experiences as well as seeing what is going on in my area, whether it is local, state, national, or global. The people I want to represent and the people I wish to represent make me who I am today.
What inspired you to be a leader? As I was growing up, I saw many ideas that needed to be strengthened and voices that have been oppressed. I wanted to spearhead the idea that even when things are difficult, people must push for what they believe in. If I can at least know that I changed one person’s life for the good, I am happy.
Why is what you do important? As a growing minority, it is difficult to show a voice when you are constantly told, “Oh, there are not many people like you” or “You do not really look like you can do this.” When I hear, “You can’t” or “I can’t,” I hear the complete opposite. I want to show that you can do what you love no matter what obstacles are in your way. If we do not represent ourselves, we can not function properly as a society. I am the voice you need, the change you deserve.
What do you think is the most important tool for a student leader? I believe the most important tool for a student leader is passion. One can constantly speak about change, but without the drive to start the change, what is the point of being called a student leader? With passion comes knowledge, and with knowledge comes power.
What advice do you have for someone that wants to be a student leader? Do not be afraid of your voice. No one is ever built as a student leader in one night. In order to build up to become known as a leader, I took public speaking classes as well as theater classes to be comfortable on a stage and to be able to better connect with my community.
What is an interesting fact about you? I am not a person that you will often hear that uses quotes. I want people to hear what I am speaking for, not what someone else said. This stems from my Lyrikal Storm advisor molding me to be able to write passionately and bring passion to my poetry. I also have a knack for comic books . I started off with X-Men at a young age and went from there. My favorite superhero is Captain America because of his patriotism and wanting to fight for his country, even though many told him that the odds were against him.
Where are you from / Where do you live? I live in Hyattsville, Maryland, but I am of Salvadorian descent.
Who is your favorite leader? My favorite leader is Malala Yousafzai. For those who may not have of heard of her, her life was almost taken by the Taliban because she was and is still fighting for women to be able to have equal access to education rights as males. She is in my age group and taught me that no matter what age I am or what problems I am facing, problems are no excuse for not giving a voice. I want to be a global figure as she is and be able to improve problems that are facing the world now and in the future.
Where do you see yourself 5 years from now? In 5 years, I see myself in my senior year of college. I will be constantly building up to my life goal as a Senator and then as President of the United States or the United States Ambassador to the United Nations. Even with school and a career, I will ALWAYS be here for my community. I did not make my community, my community molded me and I would be nowhere without my community.
Bio : Sakinah Tarver is an eleventh grade student at Parkdale High School and an award-winning Impressionist. She lives in Riverdale, MD. Her favorite food is curry chicken and she loves doing impressions in her free time.
Define Impressionist? Impressionism is basically the ability to act and show how something or someone is.
Where do you draw your inspiration from? I get my inspiration from the people around me and things that I see on TV.
What inspired you to do impressions? It was one day I was in cooking class watching The Neelys and I started doing their voice and at that point I started to try to mimic different accents that I hear.
Why is what you do important? Its important because it helps people get to see how ridiculous they can act.
What advice do you have for someone that wants to be an impressionist? If you're interested in being an impressionist its important that you believe in yourself and what you're doing.
What is an interesting fact about you? An interesting fact about me is that I love to debate and argue ideas and politics.
Where are you from / Where do you live? I'm from Atlanta, GA, but I was born in Virginia.
Where do you see yourself 5 years from now? Five years from now I see myself in college in journalism school. I hope to one day get a role in a popular movie.
BIO: Ashanti Martinez is a High School Senior, an International Baccalaureate Programme Diploma Candidate, Member of Young Dems of Maryland, Young Dems of Prince George’s County, and proud Student Advocate at Parkdale High School in Riverdale, Maryland. At the 2013 Congressional Black Caucus Foundation’s Annual Legislative Conference, he was on a Youth Panel discussing the importance of Black Leadership. Because of the lack of LGBTQ leadership in Prince George’s County, he created the LGBTQ Student Liaison for the Prince George’s County Regional Association of Student Governments (PGRASG). His service extents broader than his local community, in 2012 he spent the summer in Panama providing service to the less fortunate. Ashanti is currently nominated for The Prince George’s Harlem Remembrance Foundation L.O.V.E. Award. During his free time, he enjoys the company of friends and family. In Fall 2014, he be will attending Howard University majoring in Political Science.
Define leader? A Leader is someone who is consistently serving other before serving themselves. Dedicating their life advocating for others. That’s a leader Where do you draw your inspiration from? My inspiration comes from the people all around me. Talking to students, learning about their stories and what they overcome on a daily basis inspires me. Listening to their concerns and issues is what inspires me. Understanding that my generation is the future of this Nation is what inspires me every day to make a difference.
What inspired you to be a leader? Since I was a kid, I’ve always exhibited leadership qualities. Just knowing that I can make a difference in the lives of others keeps me going and makes me thrive to do more.
Why is what you do important? I feel like I am the voice of the people. Being a Leader is a major responsibility and I take it all with pride.
What do you think is the most important tool for a student leader? Leaning how to simply listen has been the most important tool through my years in student leadership. Having the ability to verbally communicate is wonderful, but if you can’t listen to the concerns and problems brought to you by the people you serve then you can’t effectively lead. Listening is a key piece in communication that many people forgot about.
What advice do you have for someone that wants to be a student leader? Don’t be afraid to fail. Often times our leaders are consumed with getting everything right. Reality is that your human and make mistakes. Failure is a part of life, the more you run from it the more you’ll encounter it. Embrace being human and understand that being a Leader doesn’t make you any better than the ‘next guy’.
What is an interesting fact about you? By looking at me you wouldn’t be able to detect my Hispanic background. Through my biological father, I’m Puerto Rican. Though I don’t embrace my heritage as much as I should, it’s still very important to me. Family is #1 in my book.
Where are you from / Where do you live? I am a proud Marylander living in New Carrollton, MD. New Carrollton is a quiet suburban city, but close enough to DC where it isn’t a hassle getting there.
Who is your favorite leader? This might sound cheesy but my favorite leader is my Mom. Her ability to run a household, work a full-time job, cook dinner, keep fit, and stay sane inspires me. I appreciate the sacrifices her and my Dad have made for me. Being a devoted parent is the greatest leadership role anyone can take on.
Where do you see yourself 5 years from now? In 5 years I see myself having graduated from college and now on my way to law school or maybe running for public office. We’ll have to see where these next four years at college take me.